29 December 2006
28 December 2006
26 December 2006
24 December 2006
22 December 2006
I stole the truck from Christine today and cruised over to Underwater Sports to pick up an Octopus for to replace the one I returned. I chose an Aqualung Calypso/Titan. Although I've seen nothing in my research saying this reg/octo is cold water rated the guy in the shop told me that unless I was going ice diving this one would be good. As you may remember from my other posts this is the same brand as my primary regulator and first stage. In fact this is the model that Aqualung created specifically for my first stage and reg.
Aqualung's Specs for it are as follows -
- A mid-sized, feature-rich alternate air source
- Diver-controlled Venturi Adjustment Switch (VAS) reduces sensitivity to free flow on the surface and provides maximum airflow at depth
- Equipped with Aqua Lung's exclusive Comfo-Bite™ mouthpiece
- Equipped with 39-inch yellow hose for visibility
Scuba Diving Magazine had this to say - Although it just missed the cut for the Testers' Choice rating in this category, our evaluation clearly shows this simple, no-frills octopus version of Aqua Lung's Calypso second stage to be a worthy backup breather. It comes with a high-vis yellow 39-inch hose and a large yellow full-cover purge that delivers a powerful burst of air. This makes clearing the octo easy for an out-of-air diver on the verge of panic. A Vane Adjustment Switch (VAS) helps prevent free-flows when the octo is not being used. Test divers found it to be a little small for a gloved hand and not very well-marked, but said it gets the job done. Its exhaust tee is larger than most, which contributes to better-than-average bubble dispersion, but also makes the reg a little harder to stow. All in all, however, the Calypso/Titan is a full-sized octo with full-sized breathing performance. It earned Very Good to Excellent scores on the breathing simulator, and test divers found it to be a smooth, dry breather.
I was going to try out all my new equipment in the pool at the shop but someone was having a refresher course at the time. I did pick up a few more items. Some clips for attaching equipment to my BC and a dive slate.
Update - Although neither I or my buddy needed to use this back up breather I had no problems with is over my Mexico trip.
21 December 2006
The first day we stayed here and bundled up. We actually tried to find a hotel but everyone else in the city beat us to them. The second day Christine called around all day for a hotel and finally found one up in Edmonds. We stayed there for 2 days then, since I work for Starwood, I managed to hook up a "hot rate" at the Westin. This worked out pretty well since our holiday party was on the 19th. We just walked from the hotel to the party and back.
During the outage I would come home to see if the power came back on again and feed the cats. I called it the dead zone. No one was around. All the usual noise was gone. No lights in the neighborhood. No heat. No hot water. No phone. For the first 2 days even our cell phones didn't get reception here. It was almost like a ghost town. Many gas stations were without power and lines were getting long at the others. I heard someone say they saw a bunch of people wandering around like zombies in front of a powerless grocery store. That cracks me up. Like the movie Dawn of the Dead.
Lets see, scuba wise, I'm going to go have all my new gear checked out by a local shop, buy another octo and possibly try it all out in their pool tomorrow. UPS shows that Leisure Pro received the octo I returned but I haven't seen a credit back to our card yet.
Oh we closed on our condo.
13 December 2006
07 December 2006
01 December 2006
I chose the Zeagle Stiletto. Here are it's features as per their web site -
The Stiletto is ideal for the diver who wants a system
for both travel and local diving. It is designed to pack
easily into a lightweight travel system, yet has plenty
of capacity for cold water or drysuit use.
• Zeagle’s most rugged Travel BC
• 35-lb lift capacity heavy duty low profile .
. retracting bladder
• Personal Fit System (PFS)Sizing
• Reinforced 1000 denier nylon construction
• Two zippered utility pockets
• Adjustable elastic waist panels
• Lumbar Pad
• 5 Stainless Steel D-rings
• Adjustable Sternum Strap
• 30-lb capacity Ripcord weight system
• 20-lb Capacity (sewn on) rear mount
I also like the fact that Zeagle is a family own business and still designs and produces their BC's in their own factory in Zephyr hills, Florida. About Zeagle.
Update - This BC worked great on my Mexico trip. Never felt like it was riding up. Never felt like it was riding funny, no problems, easy to reach and use controls. Although thankfully I didn't need to dump the weights, they were easy to load and unload.
30 November 2006
Well, sadly, this piece of equipment I did not spend a whole lot of money on. Yeah if you are my buddy and you run out of air, it's not going to be as nice breathing on my octo as it was on your reg. But it should deliver the air just fine and we should both make it back to the surface a'ok.
I chose the Aqua Lung ABS. It can't be all that bad. It is made my Aqua Lung after all. And it received a "testers choice" award from Scuba Diving Magazine. Here are the features from Aqua Lung -
- The New ABS Octopus combines excellent breathing performance with the benefits of a low profile body style.
- Exceeds CE breathing requirements for regulators
- Versatile design allows proper function when right side up or upside down
- Unique 120° angle between hose and mouthpiece: This Aqua Lung innovation is ideal for giving your octopus to a buddy - will work in either right hand or left hand positions. No more sharp bends in the hose or upside down octopuses in the mouth
- Custom quick-release mounting clip keeps the ABS properly located on the body at all times
- 39" yellow hose easily distinguishes your ABS hose from your primary hose. This high visibility hose is easily spotted in case of an out-of-air emergency
29 November 2006
Yeah can you imagine what it was like 20 - 30 years ago. When you put it in perspective we really have it made today. I'll quote Scuba Diving Magazine again from their article, How Much Should You Spend on a Regulator? They say,"How a regulator goes about delivering air--pistons or diaphragms, balanced or unbalanced first stages, adjustable or nonadjustable second stages--isn't as important today as it was 10 years ago. Credit clever engineers or blame clever lawyers, but today no company can afford to sell an underperforming regulator. Nearly all of them--regardless of price or design--will safely deliver all the air you'll need down to 130 feet and a good distance beyond. There are many regulators priced well under $300 that do the basic job and even some budget models that deliver as much air in extreme conditions as the most expensive ones." A note again that when I speak of regulators I speak also of the First Stages since they usually come together.
One of the big factors for me was cold water. You see while I prefer to dive in warm water environments I live here in the Pacific Northwest. I've dove here before and I know I will again. So do I buy a cold water regulator or not. You may know as air expands it gets colder and when it gets compressed it heats up. (Pump up a bike tire to it's maximum pressure and feel the pump hose afterwards. It's warm.) So you're in the cold water, chillin your air hose and as the air comes into the regulator it expands, thus making it more cold. There is the possibility that any moisture in there will form ice crystals and "freeze up" your reg. Not good. So they have "cold water" regs that get around this. Water below 50 is considered cold water for a regulator. I've dove around here in water between 43 and 60. So I opted for the one of these regs. Here are the specs from the Aqua Lung website -
The Titan LX Supreme is the cold-water version of the Titan LX and can be identified by the "snowflake" seen on the front of the case. It has all the same features as the Titan LX and additional cold-water features:
- First stage environmental dry seal kit to prevent ice from forming in the first stage
- Specifically adjusted to pass the stringent European Standards for cold-water regulator performance
- Built-in heat exchanger
- A mouthpiece lip shield for warmth in extreme cold
- Proven Titan balanced diaphragm first stage.
- Air Turbo System
- Compact 1st stage design
- Pneumatically-balanced compact, lightweight second stage maintains consistent ease of inhalation as tank pressure drops
- Diver-controlled Venturi Adjustment Switch (VAS) reduces sensitivity to free flow on the surface and provides maximum airflow at depth
- Exclusive Comfo-Bite™ mouthpiece virtually eliminates jaw fatigue
- 4 low pressure ports and 1 high pressure port.
- All ports angled for optimum hose position.
- Compatible with EAN 40 right out of the box
28 November 2006
It's an Aeris Atmos 2 in a quick disconnect console with a compass, analog tank pressure gauge and dive knife on the back. Scuba Diving magazine's Scuba Lab gave it a Tester's Choice.
•Nitrox compatible (21-50%)
•PC downloadable, up to 255 dives
•Manual & water activation
•Audible alarm with flashing LED
•User programmable alarms (ascent rate, max depth, PO2, N2, O2, dive time remaining, elapsed dive time, PO2)
•Advanced dive plan simulator
•Desaturation countdown timer
•Depth to 330', 1st deco stop @ 60' Gauge mode to 399'
•Temperature (on the surface and at depth)
•Time and date stamps for log & download
•N2/O2 bar graphs
Check out a complete list of features, with descriptions, at the Aeris web site here - http://www.diveaeris.com/p_computers_atmos2_features.html
Update - While diving in Mexico this computer and console delivered all the information I needed. Easy to read and quite easy to use. I'm quite satisfied.
24 November 2006
10 November 2006
|What American accent do you have? |
Your Result: The Midland
"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.
|The Inland North|
|What American accent do you have?|
Take More Quizzes
07 November 2006
In the Article, Diving the USS Barometer, written by Richard D Vann, PH. D., DAN Vice President of Research, a man was messing around with his turtle pond. He filled a jar with water, raised the closed end above the surface of the pond and a fish swam up into the jar. This got him thinking. What if the jar were 10 feet in diameter, 60 feet long and filled with sea water? Suppose the open end were under the water and the closed end above sea level. What would be the pressure at sea level inside the jar? What would happen if a diver swam up into the jar? As a diver I found the answers extremely interesting. First off since every 33 feet of sea water is equal to one atmosphere of pressure the water in this giant jar would only raise up 33 feet. It would rise no further, no matter how high the tube was raised. Pressure in the tube would of course decrease as the diver ascended. The empty headspace at the top of the column is really water vapor. Pressure at the bottom of the tube (sea level) would be 1.0 ata or atomsphere. Swimming up to a mere 16.5 feet the absolute pressure would fall to half or .5 ata and would be equal to an altitude of 18000 feet! At 24 feet pressure would be equal to .3 ata or 30000 feet. Almost the pressure equivalent of an astronaut's space suit! Mt Everest is 29000 feet. Two problems will occur. First, a diver breathing air at 24 feet in the water column will become unconscious from insufficient oxygen (hypoxia), because the oxygen partial pressure at 30000 feet of altitude is only .06 atm or equivalent to 6 percent at sea level. The astronaut's suit is filled with pure oxygen. Second, just as decompression sickness (DCS) will occur from poor diving practice, acending to quickly, etc, the diver will develop incapacitating or fatal altitude DCS as the nitrogen (which makes up most of our air, as you may know (all you divers should!)) dissolved in our tissues becomes bubbles. Think about this!! This blows my mind! As diver we follow the Recreational Dive Planner (RDP) or our dive computer to stay at certain depths for specific amounts of time so we don't absorb to much and/or we off gas the nitrogen as we slowly ascend and do our safety stops. It never occured to me that we already have nitrogen dissolved in our tissues just standing, walking around at sea level. Nor the fact that astronauts have to off gas nitrogen before they decompress into their space suit pressure. They breathe pure oxygen for up to four hours at sea level. Think about this artifical world: A column of compressible air more than 100,000 feet tall was replaced with a 33 - foot tall column of incompressible sea water.
The article goes on into some other interesting points such as cold boiling. Kudos to DAN and the aurthor Dr. Richard Vann.
24 October 2006
Now the quest for a house here in Seattle begins. And with it a new chapter in our life. We will find a house here. We will purchase, invest in, live in and love in our new home.
16 October 2006
Ah let's see, been a little while. I'll start with the two new episodes of the new Battlestar Galactia. So far we are happy with both.
We had our forth wedding anniversary. We went out to dinner. Christine got to have a lottle shopping spree and I got a new digital camera. It's a Nikon D80 and so far I'm extremely happy with it. I was going to buy a Cannon but with this camera I can use my lenses from my old Nikon 35 mm SLR. Photography is another of the many hobbies I have. My wife and her family say I should sell my photos so I may give it a shot.
The weather actually behaved normally again with a few days of rain and fog. Looks like the season is here. Finally.
Our house is still in the process of being sold but everything seems to be going as planned.
A few bike posts and new links - Bicycle Banter
On the SCUBA side a co-worker and I have been talking about doing a local dive but I don't know if it will ever happen. Eric and I are still planning on Cozumel in January.
Und das ist alles.
02 October 2006
01 October 2006
26 September 2006
06 September 2006
I hope this doesn't give stingrays a bad rap. Even though the Crocodile Hunter sort of dropped out of the U. S. limelight I'm going to miss the guy.
05 September 2006
Christine's sister, her husband and their daughter planned another visit here to Seattle and to Parksville on Vancouver Island. Eric (brother-in-law/dive buddy found this nice little resort there. Pacific Shores Resort and Spa. We had stagged our Nanaimo dives out of there 2 years ago. Eric and I had talked about taking a drysuit specialty course together and I had called a few dive shops here in Seattle, but with such short notice, and the short time that they were staying here we couldn't get anything booked. It looked like we weren't going diving after all. Christine and I were to take a ferry accross from Tsawassen to Sidney and they were meeting us there. Just so happens that there was a dive shop right in the area where they were waiting. Eric walked in and was talking to the owner, got the dive bug, and the next thing you know we were planning dives.
The dive shop, Liquid Heaven, I would go to again, and would recommend. The owners were friendly, organized, and had plenty of rental equipment. We, not planning to dive, had no equipment, and rented everything.
The Buoyancy Compensator was a Tusa. Tusa Liberator, I believe. I did not like the placement of the control buttons on this BC, although on the surface it held my face high out of the water, and my body in an upright, comfortable position. Whereas Seaquest BC's tend to put me face down in the water, on the surface. I think I might have been able to jam most, if not all of the weight into the BC insted of dragging around the 30 pound weight belt that the shop rented to me. I could have at least rented a lighter one and added weight on the boat. Come to think of it having the weight on the belt insted of the BC pockets maybe what gave me a more upright position on the surface. The mask was also a Tusa, of the Liberator line. This mask didn't liberate me from anything. You could say I needed to be liberated from it! It was my biggest complaint. The top of the mask pressed on my fore head like a steel bar throughout the dive, regardless of equalization. My own mask is an Aqua Lung Quartz 1 which has a bit more soft material between the hard plastic/glass portion and my head. Liquid Heaven did not rent dive computers. Which is a real bummer because I like to record everything.
The dive site, or rather the boat dock, is about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive from where we were staying. If we dive there again I would stay closer. Liquid heaven did not have their own dive boat so they chartered us through Rockfish Divers operating out of Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa. (Brother-in-law, Eric is standing in their boat in the picture above.) So if I were to dive in the same locations I would cut out the middle man, Liquid Heaven (sorry guys), and just rent from Rockfish. It would save me from dragging equipment from one place to the other, time, and money. Also according to Rockfish divers website, they rent dive computers. Why didn't I think of that when I got on the boat? They even rent DPV's (Sea Doo Scooters). All of the people at Rockfish were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
The first dive site of the day is called "White Lady" because at a 100 feet or so there are these huge white sponges, although we didn't dive that deep, and they say they are dying and no one knows why. On the surface White Lady is marked by a small rocky island which, on this day, had about 8 seals/sea lions? on it. There were 8 of us on the first dive. We all decended at once causing a huge cloud of silt on the bottom. Vis was cut to about 5 feet. Stay off the bottom. Watch your fin kicks. Although I'm guilty of this myself. Eric was having trouble staying down. He was underweighted. I wasn't aware of this. Everyone took off. I followed and then spent about 5 minutes looking for Eric. No Eric so I surfaced. There he was, of course. He got his buoyancy problem sorted out and we went back down with another diver who also lost the group. Once at depth (we stayed around 40-60 feet), and away from everyone else the vis opened up to about 30 feet. We saw the typical cold water stuff. None of the elusive 'cool' creatures came out (octo, wolf eel, 6 gill), the seals didn't even join us. In fact, when we surfaced they were gone from the island altogther.
Back to the dock to drop 2 people off and then out to Willis point wall for dive 2. This would be a good site but again everyone was stiring up the soup. I was torn between looking at sea life, my buddy, and trying to keep up with the leader. I think Eric and I would have got more out of it traveling at a slow, leisurely, observant pace. Besides the typical fish, I saw a 3 foot "dogfish" shark.
At both sites I was only slightly cold. I wore a 7mm shorty over a 7mm farmer john, with bootes, gloves and a hood. The outside air was around 70F, surface temp around 65F and about 55F at depth. Once again we didn't have a cool computer to give us all the exact information. Both dives were in the Saanich Inlet which is very smooth most of the time. Almost like a lake. All together it was a good experience. View some photos here as well as my other scuba photos here- http://www.flickr.com/photos/neutralbuoyancy/sets/72157594446978102/.
20 August 2006
First of all our cats had to get boarded. Yes, it appears that my friends up here either -
- hate cats
- don't have a car
- are afraid of my cat
- or just don't want to be put out
for when it comes time that I need a cat sitter, no one is available. The issue is compounded with that fact that Bailey, our fractious, I don't like most people in the world and will try my best to kill them, black cat, is diabetic. Not only would someone need to come to our house, change the cat litter and feed the cats but also give Bailey an insulin shot. And it would generally have to be at the same time everyday. So the cats went off to the vet for 5 days. Bailey hates the vet!! She tries to kill most of them. It's really wild. If a vet approches she will make the most demonic, possesed, shrill cat sounds and attack with equal ferocity, then turn around and give me a angelic little meow. Capella, on the other hand, is an angel. The vets love her. People love her. People who don't like cats love her. Even Bailey tolerates her.
The next day I caught a taxi at 4am to get to the airport by 4:30, just to breeze through check in by not checking any luggage and following all the rules for the ever changing security measures, so I could sit and wait to board the plane for 2 hours. If you live in Seattle, are actually reading this, and plan on flying out of Sea Tac airport check this out - http://www.portseattle.org/seatac/. It's good to check it on the night before, or the day of your flight, as things change daily. For example, last week, no liquids were allowed. Now people can actually take lip stick, lip balm and solid deodorant. If you ask me some people on flights should be required to take deodorant but I digress. The flight went well. Christine picked me up around noon. Yea! We ate lunch, and packed up what little she had left to take.
Turns out she had more then we thought. As we packed I kept thinking this is not going to fit in the truck. As the time we planned in leaving at approached, I mentioned this. Christine still thought it would. We loaded about 2 boxes into the truck (her pick up, not a moving truck) and she came around to my way of thinking. Frak! The next day we had U-Haul install a hitch on our pick up and rented a 4 x 8 trailer. So, you can't say, "everything went off without a hitch." Ha Hah Ha! We loaded up and got off around 13:00 and made our escape from the desert.
The rest of the trip went pretty smooth. It was long. It was boring. It would probably be pretty cool with about a week or two to stop and site see and no trailer in tow. We made our way west on I-10, through the heat, the wind power plants, and L. A. traffic. We just missed rush hour. Then north on I-5 through vineyards, rolling hills, farmland and the outrageous gas prices. We made our first hotel stop near Coalinga, CA a few hours after dark. A fair distance for about 9 hours driving. Then, in the morning, north again. North through Sacramento. North into the forests, mountains, and past Mt. Shasta. North into Oregon, where you can't pump your own gas. We know we're getting closer as latte stands start appearing at all the gas stations. Mountains, mountains, mountains, and we reach our final hotel stay in Salem, Oregon. The next morning we leave Salem for beautiful Portland, and wouldn't you know it, we are in Washington. Everything that is not water or inhabited by humans is forested now. Within a few more hours we are here, finally, in Seattle.
We decided that there some cities we will have to return to someday for a visit. Of them -
- Portland, a beautiful looking city both day and night of bridges, rivers and parks.
- San Francisco, although we didn't actually travel through it.
- Possibly Sacramento, and Mount Shasta.
What we really need to do someday is travel to all of the above and down the Oregon/California coastline.
We ate - Beef jerky, water, soda pop, fries, Pringles, sauage, eggs, pancakes, coffee, more coffee, Oh I guess that was just me drinking all that coffee, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Denny's, almonds, walnuts, Mambas, gum, Red Vines, bagels, danish, and a host of other bad things containing chemicals and sugar.
We read - aloud to each other, Patrick O'Brian's The Fortune of War.
What matters now is that we are here, safe, together again.
To see a few more photos of out trip, click on the title, Phoenix to Seattle . . . above.
13 August 2006
10 August 2006
08 August 2006
Probably about 4 years ago, the last time we lived up here in Seattle, I decided I would start riding my bike to work. It worked out fairly well. It's only about 7 miles, most of it on nice bike trails or smaller streets with less traffic. It took me about the same amount of time as waiting for and riding the bus.
I had a "mountain" bike at the time that I purchased sometime around 1993, so it was about 10 years old. Well it wasn't long before I was set on buying a new improved mountain bike with shock absorbers, more gears and even fatter knobbier (heavier) tires then the ones I had. Although like so many 4x4's and SUV's I would probably never take it off road on a trail. Once I had the money I started looking around the local bike shops and my quest took me to Recycled Cycles.
Now I had an old beat up 10 speed when I was in high school (these are the 80's) that I got at a garage sale somewhere for 50 bucks. Skinny tires. Electric tape on the handlebars. Wheels all out of true. Shifters that barely worked. One brake. The front one. But I took that bike all over the neighborhood. In the desert, through sand, cactus. (Why did I never get a flat?) Over small jumps that my friends little brother had set up. (How come I never broke a spoke?) So anyway, the "road" bike wasn't unheard of to me.
So when I was at Recycled Cycles I decided to test ride a few. GAWD! It was so fast! So light! So easy to ride! And this is on a bicycle that still has a steel frame. What I was looking for all this time and I didn't even know it. This whole mountain bike craze that came up through the 80's and 90's was just foolishness for us city dweller/commuters. I had found my way back to what cycling should be like. After test riding a few, I settled on one that was in my price range. Although the shop is Recycled Cycles, I purchased a new bike from them. A Fuji Ace which you can see in my previous post. I think it was around 400 bucks. Cheap for a road bike. And it is sort of cheap as far as road bikes go. But it's the best bike I've ever had and what's low end today was high end at one time.
I have a bicycle computer and when the odometer read something like 800 miles one of my spokes broke. This is when I discovered a neighborhood shop, Aaron's Bicycle Repair. They took care of me. Replaced my spoke and trued my wheel while I waited. A few weeks later another spoke broke. Same wheel. The back wheel. The one that most of the weight is on. This is where low end (cheap) comes in on the bike. Aluminum spokes. Oh yes they say they are lighter and faster. Folks . . . if you are buying a road bike for commuting or any sort of long term riding on bumpy, pot hole infested city streets, don't get cought up in these racing wheels with the new fangled, light weight spokes. Get yourself some good 32 stainless steel spoke wheels. You won't regret it. There's a reason you still see them on touring bikes. They last. Check out the page on wheel building at the website for Aaron's Bicycle Repair to learn more. OK, where were we. Ah yes, the second spoke broke. Needless to say I had Aaron's Bicycle Repair build me a new wheel which, at almost 2000 miles now, I am still happily riding on. Plus free truing forever. You can't complain with that.
Recently I stopped back by Aaron's to have the wheel trued and a strange noise down in my crank looked at. (Which they did again, while I waited.) They noticed 2 other safety issues with the bike that had to be addressed first before they would do the other work. First was a break cable housing that was to short. Second was a hole in the front tire that the tube was pushing through. They said a blowout in the front and you're gonna crash. I don't want to crash so I got 2 new tires. Schwalbe, Marathon Plus. They got a rubber layer built in the tire (shown at right) that you can't push a thumb tack through. This seems to be true as I rode 30 miles yesterday and at the end of the day I pulled a 1/4 inch piece of glass out of the tire (hole at left) without a problem.
My next and latest dilemma involved a pannier pack and rear rack I purchased. The rear rack (at right) was allow-ing the pack to hit the spokes. But I exchanged the rack for another (left, mounted on bike) and now there are no problems. Note how the second racks bars extend farther to the rear on the bottom. This keeps the packs clear away from the spokes. This last picture shows the reflective pannier packs mounted on the rack. No more hot sweat soaked shirts from wearing a backpack.
25 July 2006
The other day I was actually pulled over, by a cop, on my bike! I had come to a stop at a redlight. A neighborhood stoplight at an intersection that didn't have that much traffic. All the cross traffic had gone by. All clear. I decided to go. I know it was against the light, but hey some people walk against the light, some people ride. Just as I start I look up and sitting directly across from me was a cop. I don't know how I didn't see him. Well I was already starting to cross. He knew I was crossing. I knew he knew I was crossing. To late now. He gave a little chirp on the sirien. Great. Fraking great. I nodded to him and rode on. Then he actually turned around and pulled me over. I stopped and he got out of the car.
Cop- "Could you step off of the bicycle?"
Me- (((((Thinking))))) (((((This guy can't be serious?!? Like I'm going to try to make a get-a-way on my bike something.)))))
I step off.
Cop- "My name is Sargeant A**hole. Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Me- (((((Ah I guess because you are a big, fat jerk!!!))))) "Ah because I rode through that red light."
This is the point where Sargeant A**hole asks me why I would do such a thing and I try to explain that some how I didn't think it really mattered on a bike and the how intersection looked perfectly safe, there were no cars, etc, etc, without looking like a complete moron. When in realty Sargeant a**hole, I and the rest of the world know that I just didn't want to sit at that stoplight and it was perfectly safe to cross.
Sargeant 'A' (This is how we will refer to the role of 'Cop' from now on.)- How is your driving record?"
Sargeant 'A'- "Can I see your drivers license or ID card please?"
Me- (((((Are you from another planet?!?))))) "Sure." (((((I bet he didn't even think I had one on me.)))))
Sargeant 'A' takes my drivers license to his car, and procedes to run it through his computer showing him that indeed I do have an excellent driving record and no warrents out for my arrest unlike most of the other people I see around me. I pretend to look at the flowers and landscape at the house I'm next to when in reality I'm looking at all the hoodlums and gangster wannabe's driving by that live in this neighborhood and still thinking "You pulled me, on my bike, over?" Sargeant 'A' comes back.
Sargeant 'A'- "Do you know that it's an 81 dollar fine for running a red light on a bicycle?"
Me- (((((Now why would I know such a thing?))))) (((((I DO NOW))))) "No."
Sargeant 'A'- "Don't ride through any redlights again."
Me- (((((What? He's actually not going to give me a ticket? I guess we can change his name from capital 'A' to small 'a'.))))) "I WON'T."
I ride away on my bike. Scene fades out.
Then, about 2 days ago, after passing 1700 miles on my bike computer odometer (yeah I got one of those things), I came as close to falling while riding as I ever have. I know it's just a matter of time. It scared the hell out of me. The culprit was a crummy section of roadway that I hit while trying to avoid another crummy section of roadway. And I must admit it has been hard for me to get used to the old saddle again, but it's only a matter of time. I'll stick with 14 to 20 mile bike rides to work or Alki beach for now.
20 July 2006
I always said while I was living in Phoenix that the years I lived in Seattle (1999-2004) seemed like a dream. Now that I’m back in Seattle, Phoenix is just a dream. My job, the desert, our house, all a distant memory. It's like I never left Seattle. My first shift at work, just like old times. Yet everything is different. The hotel has been renovated and added on to, yet many of the people and operations are the same. It’s like I was transported to an alternate universe Seattle. The bus I used to take home was the 20. Now it’s the 120. New towers have sprung up in the city. In my old neighborhood, new shopping centers have opened up and many homes have been torn down to the ground and rebuilt. Yet it’s people and operations are the same.
On another note my wife and I miss each other deeply. Her old job up here doesn't need her until mid August so she stayed to keep working in Phoenix and to help sell our house.
The Task- Travel 1500 miles from Phoenix to Seattle with all our worldly possessions and 2 cats in 3 days.
The Means- a 26 foot yellow Penske moving truck.
The Sherpa- My brother, Lane.
We kept the cats in specially made containers in the back. Even if we kept them in the front, there wouldn’t have been space for the cat carriers. Each container I made was large enough to hold, one cat, a cat bed, litter box, and food/water. They were basically 2 foot by 2 foot by 4 foot boxes made from peg board. Nothing was placed on top of the containers or anywhere where it could fall on top of them. We checked on the cats at every gas station. We left at 22:00, under the cover of darkness, to escape the heat of the desert. True our truck had air conditioning but not in the back where the cats were. By about 05:00 we made it through most of Los Angeles. We made through before rush hour! We pressed on through the day until about 16:00 when we finally had to pull over for some sleep. A crummy, over priced hotel in Anderson, just south of Redding. Crummy, although they accepted cats. The plan was to get up and back on the road by 03:00 but my cell phone doesn’t have a snooze and we over slept. I think we made it on the road at 04:30. Eleven and ½ hours later we reached our destination in West Seattle. Each fuel stop took 70-100 dollars worth of diesel. The fuel cost about as much as the truck rental itself. We survived on water, Gatorade, Dr. Pepper, Coke, coffee, Starbucks Doubleshots, Chezzums, beef jerky, Combos, apples, bananas, carrots, Chinese food, burgers, gum, cookies, and more road trip crap, I’m sure. It took us almost 2 full days.
10 July 2006
06 July 2006
- 13 pounds Mt.Rainier Fireweed Honey
- 3 teaspoons Pectic Enzyme
- 2 teaspoons Diammonium Phosphate (DAP)
- 2 teaspoons Superfood Yeast Nutrient
- 2 Campden Tablets
- 2 gallons of hand picked Blackberries yielding ~ 6.5 quarts or 13 pints of Blackberry juice.
- Wyeast Labs Vinter’s Choice Sweet Mead Yeast #3184 (Smack Pack)
- Holy Water
- Malic and Tartaric acid
For 3 days I hand picked blackberries in my spare time. All the blackberries were crushed by hand and strained through cheese cloth. 1 gallon of crushed blackberries, strained, yielded ~ 3 quarts of juice. A Campden tablet was added to the juice for 24 hours. In the mean time I picked up the honey form the local farmers market and the Yeast from the brew shop. A yeast starter was created.
08/07/2004- 1 gallon of water (plus 1 small bottle of holy water) was heated to boiling on the stove, removed from the heat, and added to 12 pounds of honey. This mixture was poured into the carboy along with nearly a gallon of chilled blackberry juice (2 quarts remaining) and a few gallons of chilled water. To this I added the yeast starter, both now being at the same temperature. 1 ½ teaspoons of DAP and 1 ¾ teaspoons of Superfood were added. The must was aerated via the use of an electric egg beater. The gravity of this must read 1116 or 15%. The carboy was sealed and there was a strong ferment 6 hours later.
08/08/2004- When the gravity dropped to 1094 (12%) I added the remaining 2 quarts of blackberry juice. This filled the carboy to the top.
08/10/2004- Gravity 1078 (10%)
08/14/2004- As the gravity dropped to 1060 (8%) I added ½ teaspoon of DAP and ¼ teaspoon of Superfood.
09/02/2004- When the fermentation slowed and the gravity dropped to 1030 (3.5%) I racked off the sediment and added 1 pound of honey and ~ 1 quart of water to the new carboy.
11/23/2004- Gravity 1038 (4.5%) Racked 3 gallons into 3 - 1 gallon carboys. Bottled the rest.
06/15/2005- After tasting a small bottle with different acid blends I added 1 teaspoon Malic, 1 teaspoon Tartaric, and 1/8 teaspoon Tannin to 2 of the 3 remaining gallons.
04 July 2006
Some cold water divers I've been talking to were wishing to hear dive reports about the warm water places I've been to so today I'm going to talk about our Caribbean Cruise. Now I haven't done to many dives but my open water classes were aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. A 138,000 ton ship accommodating 3114 guests. It sounds like a lot of people but I never felt crowded. The ship has 15 decks, a royal promanade (shopping mall) 3 salt water pools, dive center, basketball court, fitness center, track, rock climbing wall, wedding chapel, inline skating course, ice skating rink, casino, library, conference center, Johnny Rockets, several bars, resturants, buffet & clubs, not to mention the University of Miami's state-of-the-art oceanographic and atmospheric science lab. We saved up our pennies and stayed in a stateroom with a balcony. It's a real pleasure sleeping in your room, with the doors open, listening to the sea. The cruise took us for 7 days to the ports of San Juan, St. Maartin, St. Thomas, and Nassau, departing and arriving at/from Miami.
Ok ok, if you do take the open water dive class on a 7 day cruise, go out and buy the PADI dive manuel (or whatever instruction manual that ship uses) and read it first. I tell ya, it's a good thing my wife's family came with us because most of the time I was either taking the dive class, doing pool dives, open water dives, or reading that big freaking book.
As far as the dives, hmmm, let me see what I can remember since I just packed my dive log for our move. Ah I got it! My PADI online dive profile. None of the dives were to extreme. (Open water class, remember). All were boat dives.
The first 2 were in St Thomas.
- Site - Buck Island Cove
- site depth - 45 feet
- vis - 80 to 100 feet
- temp - 70 to 80 degrees
- small wreck & small reef.
- Site 1 - Bahama Mama
- site depth - starts our around 30 and they say over the wall it drops into a 6000 foot oceanic trench!!
- vis - 80 to 100 feet
- temp - 70 to 80 degrees
- The dive operator was Stuart Cove's Aqua Adventures . This is a great site to see Caribbean Reef Sharks. There were almost always 1 to 4 sharks within our field of vision. Most around 5 feet in length. I understand this is where they filmed the shark scenes for Open Water and Into The Blue. Were there sharks in Into the Blue? I don't recall. In fact we sort of swam into the set for that movie. Where the plane is sunk. Oops. I remember the film crew were using something so you could hear them speak under the water. If the sharks weren't erie enough, swimming out over that trench to attain our 60 depth was. All of a sudden that sandy bottom slopes away into dark blue.
Of all the dives on the cruise we saw Caribbean Reef Sharks, Yellowtail Snapper, Yellow Jacks, Blue Tangs, Squirrlfish, Wrasse, Trumpetfish, Redband Parrotfish, Yellowtail Damselfish, and Nassau Grouper to name a few. I would do any and all of the dives again. But hey, I love to dive. See my scuba photos of this trip and other's here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/neutralbuoyancy/sets/72157605653051581/
02 July 2006
Ok ok for today well go back to a dive topic. I saw a great show last night on the Humboldt Squid which live in the Sea of Cortez. I find octopus and squid very facinating. The Humboldt Squid are possibly man eaters. Although I'm sure we eat a lot more of them then they do us. Anyway, by chance I came across the an online article by one of the divers that was in the show. Also about Humboldt Squid. Check it out. http://www.deeperblue.net/article.php/696/3 If you're still interested, do a search for Humbolt Squid. There's a lot of information on the web about them.
01 July 2006
Here are some of the lyrics from "The world at Large" by Modest Mouse. When Christine and I listen, it sort of sums up how we feel about moving back to Seattle, or moving to any other city for that matter."Ice-age heat wave, can't complain.If the world's at large, why should I remain?Walked away to another plan.Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand.I move on to another day,to a whole new town with a whole new way.Went to the porch to have a thought.Got to the door and again, I couldn't stop.You don't know where and you don't know when.But you still got your words and you got your friends.Walk along to another day.Work a little harder, work another way.Well uh-uh baby I ain't got no plan.We'll float on maybe would you understand?Gonna float on maybe would you understand?Well float on maybe would you understand?The days get shorter and the nights get cold.I like the autumn but this place is getting old.I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast.It might not be a lot but I feel like I'm making the most.The days get longer and the nights smell green.I guess it's not surprising but it's spring and I should leave."
29 June 2006
28 June 2006
So I had 3 great days in Seattle. I know how green is is there but it's still a shock after living back here in the desert for 2 years. It's like a freaking paradise. The weather was great, almost to hot, the whole time I was there. Sunday was pretty much just a party day. My friends dragged me out to Seattle Center where the gay pride parade just marched to. At right, dancing in the fountain, is Randy, Marge, myself in the back, Jeff and Shelly. From there we proceeded to a gay pride block party on Capital Hill. Monday was my job interview. Got the job. Tuesday was find an apartment. Found one. And wednesday, relax and fly back. So everything is going according to plan. Yes, yes, everything . . . hoo hoo ha hah ha! Now I just need to pack up my whole life by the 13th so I can move it all up there by the 15th and start work on the 19th. Sheesh. On top of that I hope to sell my car before leaving. We'll only need one car up there. And hopefully our house sells soon!
25 June 2006
22 June 2006
21 June 2006
20 June 2006
Well got 2 more dives in again. Same lake, same crummy vis. Scary part is I almost like it. I hooked up with the same buddy as last week and Justin brought some Dive Propulsion Vehicles (DPV's) for us to play around with. So that was cool. They (DPV's) would be really nice in clear vis. After the DPV dive my buddy had to take an advanced open water student down below 60 feet for his deep dive. I wanted to see what was at the bottom of this lake so I tagged along. At 72 feet that lake is freaking COLD! I'd have to say around 55 - 60 degrees. Not a place to wear a 3mm wet suit. So we basically dropped down for like 2 seconds and left. Back at 25 feet the water felt like a hot tub.
Lake Pleasant (not so pleasant)
So saturday I ran into my dive instructor/friend Justin in the Sport Chalet. He said that they are up at the lake (lake Pleasant) every sunday teaching classes and if I ever wanted to go just let him know and he would throw in some extra gear for me to use, at no charge. I said cool, I'll be there tomorrow. Downside- GAH! Vis in the lake was worse then San Carlos. Only 5-15 feet. Mostly around 8. Only a few fish (of notable size). Junk/beer cans.
Upside- Got to hang out with Justin & Terra again. Got some more downtime. All this low visibility should be helping me improve my buddy awareness and nav skills. When I finally get back to the Carribean/Hawaii it's going to be like heaven on earth.